Feeling like you don’t recognize yourself anymore recently? It might be one of the signs you lose yourself in a relationship. Too often women don’t even realize it because it’s not something that you can see through your naked eyes.
The effects are slowly showing and, before you knew it, you feel like something is missing in your life.
I used to get offended when my friends told me that I invested too much time and effort in my relationship and they’d politely ask me to do a self-reflection check once in a while.
I know I shouldn’t have because they care about me. But at that time, I was so convinced that I was just being normal in my relationship, nothing too crazy.
Until one day, I woke up really late and my heart just felt heavy from crying for hours the night before. I ended up calling in sick at work.
At that moment I felt really bad for myself. I made my life revolve around my relationship and it drove me crazy. I knew I had to change otherwise I’d lose myself in it.
What does it mean to lose yourself in a relationship?
There are little signs that you might be getting already. However, if you’ve lost in touch with yourself for too long because you focus way too much on your relationship, then you most likely would overlook those signs in the first place.
Here are the obvious ones:
You barely talk to your friends or hang out with them
Your days feel like a roller-coaster, you don’t even know what having ‘stable’ days look like
You don’t have any goals in life other than being with your partner
You cry easily because your self-worth is really low
You suddenly can’t imagine your life without your partner
So those are the main signs that mostly happen when you lose yourself in a relationship. While some people think it’s normal because that’s how the relationship ‘supposed to be’ — it’s not.
I’ve known a couple in my college years where it looks like they are together 24/7. Just like glue, there’s no way they’d separated or do their hobbies.
So how do you avoid losing yourself in a relationship?
1. Be independent and build your own empire
Does it feel good to be fully dependant on your partner all the time? Of course not. Let’s take a look at depending on the financial side for example.
I remember my mom used to tell me (and she still does) that even if you end up with a rich man with overload of money on his bank account, you still need to work so you can earn your own money.
It gives you some sense of freedom. It gives you options to walk away when things go south in your relationship and you’ll be confident enough to support yourself when that happens.
Another example is when you start depending on your partner to compliment you all the time to the point where you feel like you aren’t good enough if your partner doesn’t do it.
Rather than wasting your time being so caught up in the relationship drama, it’s better to use those times to work on projects that you are passionate about.
A person who is independent and stays busy building her own empire is more attractive than those who revolve their life around their partner only.
2. Don’t compromise more than you are willing to
Yes, you do need compromise when you are in a relationship. Especially when it’s a serious one. But do you need to compromise more than you are willing to in order to keep them happy? Um no, you don’t.
But how do you know whether you’ve compromised too much or not?
One way to see it is when you have high resentments towards your partner, you’ll feel like they’ve taken some sort of control that you have for your life.
Because that wouldn’t happen if you are happy to let go of certain things in order to make the relationship work.
So next time you are in a situation where you have to compromise, ask yourself whether it’s worth it or not.
3. Make time to do something outside your relationship
Here are my top recommendations:
Go for a hike alone.
Sign up for an online course and learn something new.
Experiment with different kinds of outfits for a week.
Cook your favorite meal without thinking too much whether your partner will like it or not. You cook it for yourself.
Go to a coffee shop nearby and work on your projects.
Set a challenge (workout sessions, social media detox, or build a new habit) and focus on it.
4. Think of marriage as part of your life journeys, not your end goal
Couples who are already in a serious relationship will expect them to be getting married in the future, otherwise why wasting time?
Growing up in a small village somewhere in Indonesia, I’ve known too many of my childhood friends that see marriage as their one and only ultimate goal.
As a result, you’ll be considered unsuccessful in life when you aren’t married yet — and it doesn’t matter how much you earn. They only care whether you are married or not.
The problem with thinking that marrying your partner will make your life complete and there’s nothing worth pursuing anymore right after is really dangerous.
I’m not saying your relationship shouldn’t be in your top priority but that can’t be your only priority. There’s so much more in life if you let yourself exploring it.
5. Keep in touch with your close friends
How many of your friends ‘disappear’ right after they got into a relationship? Trying to reach them out is like asking a President to go for lunch with you.
There’s always something that comes up and it’s always related to their partners. If you feel guilty about this, it’s time to make time for your friends.
What I meant by making time is not commenting on their last photo on Instagram or reacting to their latest story on WhatsApp status. It’s reaching them out directly checking up on how they have been doing.
Even better if you could ask them to hang out with you and catch up on each other’s lives. Doing this regularly will help you feel like you aren’t just stuck with your partner and you actually have a life outside your relationship that you need to maintain as well.
6. Work on your self-esteem
Reading books in the personal development section can help you a lot in improving your self-esteem. It’s hard to believe in yourself when your insecurity controls you.
But the good news is, it is there for you to work on it, not to neglect it and those self-help books will help you along the way.
It’s also another simple way of getting to know yourself better. Nothing beats that feeling of being fully content with who you are and you know you’ll be fine with or without the relationship that you are in right now.
7. Learn how to be comfortable in expressing your feelings
This means no more holding back things that you want to say because you are afraid your partner might not want to accept them.
Sometimes we are so caught up and made up false assumptions in our head while all we need to do is just to speak up.
You aren’t cool with certain things? Let your partner know, rather than playing the silent game. You’ll only hurt yourself in the long run.
Being aware of the fact that you are about to lose yourself in a relationship is better than finding it out later. Because once you did find it after everything’s over, it’s way much harder to find your way back.
I’ve been there and I never wished anything like that happen to you. It’s that sucks feeling like you aren’t worthy of love or you might see yourself in a bad way as if you are too hard to be loved.
So before it gets too far, it’s important to start working now on your self-esteem, mindset, or whatever it is that you think will help you stay true to yourself.
I do believe a healthy relationship will help you grow and push you to be the better version of yourself every day. If all you get is the other way around, even after you practice those things I mentioned earlier, then it’s really not worth your time.